Thomas Docherty ‘to be cleared of all charges’ by Warwick

Ruling follows internal investigation, and comes nine months after suspension

October 21, 2014

Source: Alamy

An academic who was suspended by the University of Warwick at the start of the year is to be cleared of wrongdoing after an internal investigation, Times Higher Education understands.

Thomas Docherty, professor of English and comparative literature and a prominent critic of the marketisation of higher education, was suspended in January.

Although Warwick has not commented on his suspension, other than to deny that it is connected with his political views, THE revealed in July that Professor Docherty has been charged with undermining the authority of the former head of the English department, Catherine Bates.

Now copies of a Warwick tribunal report have been sent to parties involved in the case. Although the university said it would not comment on the outcome until the parties had responded, it is understood that Professor Docherty is to be cleared of all charges against him.

Professor Docherty, whose suspension had been lifted last month, said: “I’m looking forward to getting back to teaching, working with students and colleagues, and writing again, as normal.”

Dennis Leech, president of the University and College Union branch at Warwick, said “the fact that a member of the academic staff can be suspended for almost nine months and subject to such a protracted disciplinary process suggests that there is a need to review the governance of the university”.

He added that such a review was needed “not only from the point of view of fairness to the individual concerned who (and whose family) has had to live with the stress of being under a threat of dismissal all that time, but also from the institution’s own point of view as a university in which academic freedom is paramount”.

Professor Leech continued: “I hope the university will look again at how it can strengthen its procedures to protect and defend academic freedom, which this case exemplifies to be threatened from obtrusive managerialism.”

A Warwick spokesman said the university would issue a full statement in the coming days. He said the process had taken the length of time it did “in order to accommodate the specific requests and needs of all the participants in the process”.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Reader's comments (2)

So has Warwick's Vice-Chancellor really tendered his resignation already? Or is that just another wild rumour deliberately circulated to undermine people's respect for our betters?
So, the charges were (obviously) trumped up, and the whole thing was designed to remove an irritatingly loud and rather effective critic of the destructive culture of neoliberal managerialism. There is something very very wrong with the governance of the university, and it has to start at the very top.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

David Parkins Christmas illustration (22 December 2016)

A Dickensian tale, set in today’s university

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together